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Thesis outcomes and corrections

There will usually be a bit more work to do after the viva. Each institution will have its own regulations about viva outcomes and how to inform the candidate of them. Find out before you go into your viva so that you know what to expect. In the UK they typically they fall into one of the following categories:

  • Outright pass. Your work needs no corrections
  • Minor corrections. Your examiners have a few minor suggestions that they would like you to incorporate
  • Major corrections or resubmission. The thesis needs further work to be of doctoral standard. This might include more research, rewriting sections or including new literature
  • Suggestion that you resubmit for, or are awarded, a lower degree (MPhil or MSc). Research is of good quality but too narrow for a doctorate
  • Outright fail. Usually used only in cases of plagiarism or where the examiners judge that the candidate will never be able to complete a doctorate.

Most candidates fall within the minor or major corrections categories. This means that you will have some corrections to complete. However, regardless of the number of corrections that you have to do most people who reach the viva stage do  go on to get their doctorate relatively quickly.

Thesis corrections

After your viva you are likely to have some corrections to complete before you are awarded your doctorate. The extent can range from a few spelling mistakes to rewriting or adding complete chapters. You may be given a deadline by your examiners or your institution but regardless of this, it is best to aim to complete your corrections as soon as possible to use the momentum acquired during thesis writing.

In order to be sure that your corrections make the right changes:

  • take notes during the viva and write them up immediately after
  • meet with your main supervisor to discuss the changes that you need to make
  • analyse the examiners' report carefully to make sure that you have dealt with all of the issues that they raise
  • proofread your work again.

Thesis resubmission

Your examiners, or often just the internal examiner, will check that all corrections have been incorporated, and then you can resubmit your thesis. Your institution will have regulations on the format of the final submitted thesis copy of your thesis, which will usually be deposited in the institutional library. It has become more common for institutions to request the submission of an electronic copy for ease of cataloguing and searching.

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The PhD Proofreaders

How to deal with post-viva PhD thesis corrections

Jun 1, 2019

post-viva PhD corrections

We like to think that the viva is the end of the doctoral process; the final step in the long journey to a PhD. However, for most, it isn’t the final hurdle. The outcome of the viva in most cases is another three to sixth months work to deal with corrections (which may range from correcting typos, to rewriting or adding entire chapters). This means you need to preserve some energy and be prepared to exert some considerable post-viva brainpower. 

Wait for the committee’s report

You’ll leave your viva with a good understanding of what revisions you’re going to be required, and, no doubt, many, many notes summarising the main discussion points and areas for improvement. However, as tempting as it may be to start picking apart particular sections or chapters, wait until your examination committee send over their report, which will be the formal record of the revisions that they recommend. 

Read through it carefully several times. I left mine for a day or so and then came back to it to reread it. I found this an effective way to pick up on some of the more nuanced aspects of their suggestions.

When you first receive it, you may be alarmed at its length and the detail that the examiner has gone into. Try not to be disheartened; in some ways, having detailed feedback on each suggested revision can help you, as it is providing you with clear (hopefully) instructions on how to proceed. 

Try not to be disheartened

Either way, you may feel disheartened. It’s   hard to have someone critique our work , especially when we’ve put so much energy into it in the first place. However, critique is part of the academic process. It is not intended to shame you for any real or perceived shortcomings, but instead to make your work as effective and academically rigorous as it can be.

There are two things to bear in mind. First, through engaging with such critique and making the necessary changes (or refuting them, where appropriate) you are developing not just the quality of your study, but also your critical thinking skills. The process of receiving, digesting and responding to reviewer critique in this way is a valuable skill and, in some ways, a necessary part of the doctoral journey. 

The challenge you will have is in understanding which of the reviewer’s comments are practical, appropriate and based in an accurate reading of the thesis and the wider discipline, and which are refutable or that you don’t agree with. When you submit your revised thesis, you are within your rights to exclude a particular revision, but you need to very carefully and convincingly justify your decision to do so. Perhaps your examiner has misunderstood something or has failed to take something into consideration that renders their suggestion mute. Point this out diplomatically, drawing on your own text and the wider literature to back up your response.

How to deal with unhelpful feedback

Sometimes though you may have more serious grievances with the nature of the examiner’s comments and you may feel unfairly treated. In these instances, it is vital that you talk to your supervisory committee and department leads. They will be able to offer you advice tailored to your context and institution.

The fantastic ’Thesis Whisperer’ blog has written a useful post on how to deal with unhelpful or conflicting feedback. You can find it   here .

Only do what the examiners ask for

When you sit down to work on your revisions, it is easy to spot additional problems and flaws with your thesis. As you approach completion, your critical thinking skills are very well developed, so it is only natural that you will be critiquing your own work. It is tempting to change things that aren’t listed in the examiner’s report in our ongoing quest for perfection. Do not do this. Only do what the examiner asked for.

Why? Two reasons. First, you may be limited for time. Two, you may be created additional problems.

You’ll have plenty of time to iron out any additional changes in a post-doc.

phd viva major corrections

Your PhD thesis. All on one page. 

Use our free PhD structure template to quickly visualise every element of your thesis. 

Don’t freak out

Just because you get major corrections, isn’t the end of the world. Examiners have subjective views on what classes as each type of correction. Some may think that problems with page numbering or typos constitute minor corrections, some may turn a blind eye. While most universities have guidelines on what should be classed as, say, a major or minor correction, often the lines can be blurred. I have known students be told they have minor corrections to make to then be presented with twenty pages of suggested revision. Conversely, I have seen students successfully address major corrections in less than one week.

I’ve also seen outstanding PhDs be awarded major corrections just because the examiner wanted to push the student to turn a brilliant piece of research into something world-class.

I’ve also seen weaker PhDs awarded minor or even no corrections.

Every examiner is different, and some will be expecting more of students than others. This is particularly the case if your examiner has particular expertise in a particular approach your thesis is taking (of course, examiners will be subject-experts, but in some cases, they may be leading experts on, say, a particular theoretical approach too, or your methodology). In these cases, they might be more liable to call you out on things that the other examiner may have missed or not realised the significance of.

One upside of this is that a strict examiner can push your research to a higher level. This is useful if you plan on turning it into a book, or carry on research in a post-doc.

Create a matrix

You should list all of the suggested revisions in a spreadsheet, together with your notes. This will allow you to create an audit trail as you work through them.

To start, create a spreadsheet with three columns. In column one, you list each revision listed in the report on a separate row. In column two, you can write your notes or, where relevant, the final text that will make it into your revised thesis. In the third column, note the priority that that particular revision has (more on this below).

This serves four purposes. First, you can easily see every single step required and track your progress, making sure you don’t miss anything out. Second, it lets you break down longer, more detailed comments into manageable chunks. Third, you can create an order of priority, so you know what to focus on first. Fourth, you can use the table to write up your response to the examiners (more on this below).

When you have finished your revisions, you can use the matrix to double check that you have dealt with everything listed in the report.

Get started quickly

Decide which amendments you have to do, and which you won’t. You may not agree with a particular suggestion, or you may be able to explain any misunderstanding. In these cases, you shouldn’t just change things to satisfy your examiners. Instead, you need to stand your ground when you think it necessary but, importantly, you need to argue your case. Like a Doctor. Tell the examiner exactly why you have chosen not to make a suggested revision, in as much detail as possible and with reference to both the existing thesis and, if necessary, the wider literature.

However, there may be comments that you don’t understand. If that’s the case, you should talk to your advisory committee or department administrators to see what the protocol is for contacting the examiners to seek further clarification.

Check the paperwork

There may be a lot of final paperwork that you need to submit alongside your corrected draft. Check what your institution requires well in advance of resubmission. 

Read through the entire thesis

Once you have finished your revisions, read through the entire thesis one final time. When you do, try not to focus on the revisions you have just made, but instead on how the document reads.

This serves two purposes: first, you can make sure the flow has been maintained after your changes, and that you have avoided repetition. Second, it’s a chance to deal with any stray typos. If you struggle to proofread your work, reading it out loud may help.

Create a cover letter

It is likely that your institution will require you to prepare a cover letter to submit alongside the revised thesis. This document summarises your response to every comment, detailing what changes you made and, importantly, which of the suggestions you haven’t taken on board, and why.

Make sure to maintain a polite tone, even if you disagree with some of their suggestions. You should thank them for their hard work, and respond thoroughly to each suggestion that they made. It isn’t enough to simply say, ‘I made change number 1 on page 50’. Instead, you should spend some time talking about the nature of the change, and offer any other comments or thoughts you have.

If you can, summarise the changes you made in a table, complete with page numbers. This will make the examiners’ life easier by allowing you to quickly show how you responded to each comment and where exactly the changes are in the thesis. They may not have time to read through the entire thesis again, so providing them with an easy-reference guide to where each change can be found can speed the whole review process up considerably.

When creating this cover letter, use the matrix we discussed above to keep track of your revisions.

The corrections your examiner suggests are not a personal attack; they are instead a reflection of the process of peer review that characterises modern academia. Yet, academia is also characterised by ongoing debate. That means you are within your rights to contest particular suggestions, but in a rigorous, logical and, where appropriate, evidence-based way. You have pushed the frontiers of knowledge in your PhD and now have authority to speak as an expert.

PhD Viva questions

Prepare for your viva. One question at a time.

Prepare answers to the most common PhD viva questions with this interactive template. It’s free to download and it’s yours to keep forever.

Hello, Doctor…

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  Be able to call yourself Doctor sooner with our five-star rated How to Write A PhD email-course. Learn everything your supervisor should have taught you about planning and completing a PhD.

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Share this:


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Hello everyone, I really enjoy your work and your site is quite interesting. I must appreciate your work and efforts . It is extraordinary.

King regards, Thompson Duke

Atsakpo Dzidzor

Hello all, Very amazing reading through. All aspects helpful to do excellent corrections for my dessertation I am really grateful..

Thanks Dzidzor Atsakpo

Dr. Max Lempriere

You’re welcome. Thanks for reading.

H. M.

Thank you ever so much.

Charles Mutanga

Very helpful indeed.

Thanks Charles.

Colette Ramuz

This is an incredibly helpful post. It has helped me to stop stressing about my corrections and see them in a properly academic sense rather than as a personal failure. After the hard work of writing a PhD, followed by the anxieties of the viva, it can be hard to maintain a sensible perspective! Thank you.

Thanks for your lovely words Colette. I’m glad you found it useful. Means a lot.

Jeffrey Lucas

This is probably the best PhD thesis advise I have come across in my very long doctoral journey. It just gives me a lot of hope!

Iddi Mwanyoka

An insightful piece of work. Very much appreciated.


Thank you so much Max. It is hard to keep going with corrections. This helped me keep perspective.


Thank you so much for this post. I have recently received major amendments and was so disheartened. What you’ve written about major amendments is incredibly reassuring, not to mention very helpful. Thank you!

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phd viva major corrections

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How to Avoid Major PhD Corrections | Lex Academic Blog

18 November 2021

phd viva major corrections

In the UK, PhD students usually pass their viva voce – that is, an oral defence of their thesis – with minor or major corrections. As a follow-up to our recently published how-to guide to avoiding minor PhD corrections , we thought it would be useful to produce a post on avoiding major corrections. Whereas minor corrections encompass relatively straightforward issues like typos and formatting (for which we keenly recommend our PhD proofreading service ), as well as small amounts of rewriting, major corrections involve substantial rewriting and restructuring. Passing with minor corrections shows that your thesis is at the right standard. Passing with major corrections, as the University of Sheffield explains, means that ‘the thesis has the potential to merit the award of the degree for which it has been submitted, but does not yet satisfy the requirements for award and contains deficiencies that are in excess of editorial or presentational corrections’. Because major corrections entail more work, then, students are usually given six months, rather than three, to resubmit their thesis.

Despite this, passing with major corrections is by no means a bad result. The key word is ‘passing’, not ‘corrections’, and, in the UK at least, corrections are unlikely to have a long-term impact on your academic career or profile. In the short term, though, there are some very good reasons to try to avoid major corrections. If, in the time between submission and your viva , you’ve managed to obtain your first academic job, the difficulty of juggling major corrections with a full-time post could mean correcting your thesis on a part-time basis and resubmitting after twelve months rather than the usual six. To avoid this, you might solicit help from us, so that we can edit the corrected thesis, and ensure you’ve adequately addressed your examiners’ comments. Additionally, even if it’s not a bad outcome in the long term, passing with major corrections can feel like a blow. Amending typos is relatively painless, but having to make corrections that involve reworking entire sections of prose is daunting and tiring after the years you’ve already put in to reach this point. Here, then, is some advice for avoiding major corrections.

Some of the points in our post about avoiding minor corrections are equally relevant here. Firstly, your literature review – the part of the thesis where you critically analyse the major contributions to and trends within your field – should be complete and up-to-date. Secondly, at your viva , it’s essential to react to constructive criticism positively, rather than defensively. Regarding major corrections specifically, though, this award usually means that, although the research is satisfactory, it has not been articulated clearly or fully enough. One excellent way to assess how well you articulate ideas is to present parts of your thesis at conferences. If your papers regularly elicit questions (the more probing, the better), your ideas are probably clear, since this demonstrates that listeners were able to follow your paper. Take particular note of questions that imply a flaw in your argument or that ask for clarification, then address the relevant sections the next time you sit down to write. Similarly, it’s worth trying to publish a section of your thesis as a journal article (note, however, that publishing too much of your thesis may make publishing it as a book harder, since publishers prefer to publish original material). If you can successfully get an article through peer review, this suggests that your thesis is at the right standard and therefore doesn’t require major corrections. If your article is rejected, the reviewers will (hopefully) explain how to improve it. The point is that feedback from a variety of sources – not just your supervisor(s), who are almost as close to the subject as you are by the end – is valuable if you aim to avoid corrections.

Another common reason for major corrections is that the thesis lacks a clear main argument, structure, or method. Examiners often begin the viva by asking the student to explain the rationale for their thesis and to summarise its main argument or findings. When preparing for your viva , prepare answers to general, predictable questions like ‘why this topic?’, ‘what is your main argument?’, ‘why this methodology?’, and ‘why this structure?’. You should also reflect on why you haven’t used an equally valid alternative structure or methodology. It’s easy to dismiss such questions as too easy and focus instead on the nitty-gritty. But in fact, being able to answer these questions clearly and concisely suggests that, broadly speaking, your thesis is sound – in other words, there’s no reason it should require major corrections. If you don’t have answers to these questions, this implies a fundamental problem. As implied earlier, what you say in your viva can determine the level of corrections imposed.

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phd viva major corrections

  • PhD Viva Voces – A Complete Guide
  • Doing a PhD
  • A PhD viva involves defending your thesis in an oral examination with at least two examiners.
  • The aim of a PhD viva is to confirm that the work is your own , that you have a deep understanding of your project and, overall, that you are a competent researcher .
  • There are no standard durations, but they usually range from one to three hours, with most lasting approximately two hours .
  • There are six outcomes of a PhD viva: (1) pass without corrections (2) pass subject to minor corrections, (3) pass subject to major corrections, (4) downgrade to MPhil with no amendments, (5) downgrade to MPhil subject to amendments, (6) immediate fail.
  • Almost all students who sit their viva pass it, with the most common outcome being ‘(2) – pass subject to minor corrections’.

What Is a PhD Viva?

A viva voce , more commonly referred to as ‘viva’, is an oral examination conducted at the end of your PhD and is essentially the final hurdle on the path to a doctorate. It is the period in which a student’s knowledge and work are evaluated by independent examiners.

In order to assess the student and their work around their research question, a viva sets out to determine:

  • you understand the ideas and theories that you have put forward,
  • you can answer questions about elements of your work that the examiners have questions about,
  • you understand the broader research in your field and how your work contributes to this,
  • you are aware of the limitations of your work and understand how it can be developed further,
  • your work makes an original contribution, is your own and has not been plagiarised.

Note: A viva is a compulsory procedure for all PhD students, with the only exception being when a PhD is obtained through publication as opposed to the conventional route of study.

Who Will Attend a Viva?

In the UK, at least two examiners must take part in all vivas. Although you could have more than two examiners, most will not in an attempt to facilitate a smoother questioning process.

One of the two examiners will be internal, i.e. from your university, and the other will be external, i.e. from another university. Regardless, both will be knowledgeable in your research field and have read your thesis beforehand.

In addition to your two examiners, two other people may be present. The first is a chairperson. This is an individual who will be responsible for monitoring the interview and for ensuring proper conduct is followed at all times. The need for an external chairperson will vary between universities, as one of the examiners can also take on this role. The second is your supervisor, whose attendance is decided upon by you in agreement with your examiners. If your supervisor attends, they are prohibited from asking questions or from influencing the outcome of the viva.

To avoid any misunderstandings, we have summarised the above in a table:

Note: In some countries, such as in the United States, a viva is known as a ‘PhD defense’ and is performed publicly in front of a panel or board of examiners and an open audience. In these situations, the student presents their work in the form of a lecture and then faces questions from the examiners and audience which almost acts as a critical appraisal.

How Long Does a Viva Last?

Since all universities have different guidelines , and since all PhDs are unique, there are no standard durations. Typically, however, the duration ranges from one to three hours, with most lasting approximately two hours.

Your examiners will also influence the duration of your viva as some will favour a lengthy discussion, while others may not. Usually, your university will consult your examiners in advance and notify you of the likely duration closer to the day of your viva.

What Happens During a Viva?

Regardless of the subject area, all PhD vivas follow the same examination process format as below.


You will introduce yourselves to each other, with the internal examiner normally introducing the external examiner. If an external chairperson is present, they too are introduced; otherwise, this role will be assumed by one of the examiners.

Procedure Explained

After the introductions, the appointed chair will explain the viva process. Although it should already be known to everyone, it will be repeated to ensure the viva remains on track during the forthcoming discussion.

Warm-Up Questions

The examiners will then begin the questioning process. This usually starts with a few simple opening questions, such as asking you to summarise your PhD thesis and what motivated you to carry out the research project.

In-Depth Questions

The viva questions will then naturally increase in difficulty as the examiners go further into the details of your thesis. These may include questions such as “What was the most critical decision you made when determining your research methodology ?”, “Do your findings agree with the current published work?” and “How do your findings impact existing theories or literature? ”. In addition to asking open-ended questions, they will also ask specific questions about the methodology, results and analysis on which your thesis is based.

Closing the Viva

Once the examiners are satisfied that they have thoroughly evaluated your knowledge and thesis, they will invite you to ask any questions you may have, and then bring the oral examination to a close.

What Happens After the Viva?

Once your viva has officially ended, your examiners will ask you to leave the room so that they can discuss your performance. Once a mutual agreement has been reached, which can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, you will be invited back inside and informed of your outcome.

PhD Viva Outcomes

There are six possible outcomes to a viva:

  • Immediate award of degree: A rare recommendation – congratulations, you are one of the few people who completely satisfied your examiners the first time around. You do not have to do anything further at this point.
  • Minor amendments required: The most common recommendation – you obtain a pass on the condition that you make a number of minor amendments to your thesis, such as clarifying certain points and correcting grammatical errors. The time you have to make these changes depends on the number of them, but is usually one to six months.
  • Major amendments required: A somewhat uncommon recommendation – you are requested to make major amendments to your thesis, ranging from further research to collecting more data or rewriting entire sections. Again, the time you have to complete this will depend on the number of changes required, but will usually be six months to one year. You will be awarded your degree once your amended thesis has been reviewed and accepted.
  • Immediate award of MPhil: An uncommon recommendation – your examiners believe your thesis does not meet the standard for a doctoral degree but meets the standard for an MPhil (Master of Philosophy), a lower Master’s degree.
  • Amendments required for MPhil: A rare recommendation – your examiners believe your thesis does not meet the standard for a doctoral degree, but with several amendments will meet the standard for an MPhil.
  • Immediate fail: A very rare recommendation – you are given an immediate fail without the ability to resubmit and without entitlement to an MPhil.

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What Is the Pass Rate for Vivas?

Based on an  analysis of 26,076 PhD students  who took their viva exam between 2006 and 2017, the PhD viva pass rate in the UK is 96%; of those who passed, about 80% were required to make minor amendments to their thesis. The reason for this high pass rate is that supervisors will only put their students forward for a viva once they confidently believe they are ready for it. As a result, most candidates who sit a viva are already well-versed in their PhD topic before they even start preparing for the exam.

How Do I Arrange a Viva?

Your viva will be arranged either by the examiners or by the chairperson. The viva will be arranged at least one to two months after you have submitted your thesis and will arrange a viva date and venue that is suitable for all participants.

Can I Choose My Examiners?

At most universities, you and your supervisor will choose the internal and external examiners yourselves. This is because the examiners must have extensive knowledge of the thesis topic in order to be able to examine you and, as the author of the thesis in question, who else could better determine who they might be than you and your supervisor. The internal examiner is usually quite easy to find given they will be from your institution, but the external examiner may end up being your second or third preference depending on availability.

Can I Take Notes Into a Viva?

A viva is about testing your competence, not your memory. As such, you are allowed to take notes and other supporting material in with you. However, keep in mind that your examiners will not be overly impressed if you constantly have to refer to your notes to answer each question. Because of this, many students prefer to take an annotated copy of their thesis, with important points already highlighted and key chapters marked with post-it notes.

In addition to an annotated copy of a thesis, some students also take:

  • a list of questions they would like to ask the examiners,
  • notes that were created during their preparation,
  • a list of minor corrections they have already identified from their viva prep work.

How Do I Prepare for a PhD Viva?

There are several ways to prepare for a PhD viva, one of the most effective being a mock viva voce examination . This allows you to familiarise yourself with the type of viva questions you will be asked and identify any weak areas you need to improve. They also give you the opportunity to practise without the pressure, giving you more time to think about your answers which will help to make sure that you know your thesis inside out. However, a mock viva exam is just one of many methods available to you – some of the other viva preparation methods can be found on our “ How to Prepare for a PhD Viva ” page.

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Viva examination and corrections.

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The oral examination (viva), i have submitted my soft bound thesis - how long will i have to wait for my oral examination date.

If you have not been given a date for your viva within six weeks of submitting your thesis, you are advised to contact your Degree Committee.

I am leaving the UK - do I have to return to undertake the oral examination?

The examination procedure can take several weeks and frequently much longer. If you are expecting to leave the UK after completing your course of research, you must submit your thesis early enough for your Examiners to have a reasonable time in which to read it and to hold an oral examination before you leave. If you leave before having the oral examination you will need to return to the UK.

If you require a visa to return to the UK, please contact the International Student Team. You must not return for your viva on a general visitor visa.

Can I have my oral examination via video conference?

The oral examination will normally take place in-person in Cambridge, but you may choose to be examined remotely by video conference. You should inform your Degree Committee/department of your preference when you notify them of your intention to submit/apply for appointment of Examiners. Please also make your supervisor aware of your preference as it may affect the choice of available Examiners. Please refer to the course Moodle page

Can I request adjustments to my oral examination on the grounds of disability?

If you wish to notify examiners of any disability or request adjustments on account of such disability for your viva voce examination (either for your first year assessment or final examination), you can do this via your Degree Committee by completing and submitting the  voluntary disclosure form  this is also available on the Intention to submit form.

Once you have submitted the form, your Degree Committee will contact the University’s Disability Resource Centre (DRC) who will advise the Degree Committee on the appropriate course of action. You may be contacted by the DRC if additional information is required or to provide you with an offer of additional support.

The information provided on the voluntary disclosure form will be kept confidential and will not be used for any other purpose 

What happens at the oral examination ?

  • The oral examination will ordinarily take place in Cambridge
  • It is carried out between yourself and the two Examiners
  • It may include an Independent Chairperson if the Degree Committee requires this
  • There is no set duration, but expect it to last between 90 minutes and three hours

What is the purpose of the oral examination?

The oral examination gives the opportunity for:

  • you to defend your thesis and clarify any matters raised by your Examiners
  • the Examiners to probe your knowledge in the field
  • the Examiners to assure themselves that the work presented is your own and to clarify matters of any collaboration
  • the Examiners to come to a definite conclusion about the outcome of the examination

What is the process following my oral examination?

The steps following your oral examination are as follows:

  • Your Examiners complete a joint report and make a recommendation which is sent to your Degree Committee;
  • Your Degree Committee consider the reports at their next available meeting and send their recommendation to the Board of Graduate Studies;
  • Recommendations from all Degree Committees are added to the agenda for the next available meeting of the Board of Graduate Studies.

When will I know the result of my oral examination?

Your Examiners are asked not to give any direct indication of the likely outcome of the examination as the official result can be confirmed only by the Board of Graduate Studies. Following the meeting of the Board of Graduate Studies the Student Registry will email your reports, copied to your Supervisor.

What are the possible outcomes from the oral examination?

Possible outcomes:

  • Unconditional approval
  • Conditional approval - subject to submission of a hard bound copy for the library, or subject to minor or major corrections
  • Revision and resubmission of the work for a fresh examination
  • Revision and resubmission of the work for a fresh examination or acceptance of the MSc/MLitt without further revision
  • Not to be allowed to revise the thesis, but offered the MSc/MLitt without further revision or examination
  • Outright failure

Making Corrections to a Thesis after Examination

The Board of Graduate Studies may confirm that you need to make corrections to your thesis before full approval can be granted for your degree. This decision will be emailed to you by the Student Registry within two days of the Board of Graduate Studies meeting.

Once you have received your reports you need to undertake the following:

  • Check the joint report (PhD2) from your Examiners to see if corrections need to go to the Internal/External or both Examiners.
  • Ask your Examiners if they will accept an electronic copy of the corrected thesis - some prefer a new soft bound thesis.
  • Put the original and new page numbers on a separate list of corrections for the Examiners. For the convenience of the Examiners, the list of corrections should describe precisely how the earlier text has been amended - with page, paragraph and line references. The list should be in page order.
  • You are expected to make all the corrections required by your Examiners. If a change has been suggested, rather than required, you should indicate, as part of the list of corrections made, the extent to which you have taken account of such suggestions.

If you have been told directly by your Examiners or Degree Committee (and not the Student Registry) that you need to undertake corrections, you will need to follow their instructions taking note of the points above.

Corrections Map

How long do i have in which to submit my minor corrections.

You have 3 months in which to submit your corrected thesis and list of corrections to your Examiner(s). Check your reports to see if corrections need to go to the Internal/External or both Examiners. The 3 month deadline begins from the date of the Board of Graduate Studies meeting. Count on three months from the date of the meeting to work out the due date for corrections.

How long do I have in which to submit my Major Corrections?

You have 6 months in which to submit your corrected thesis and list of corrections to your Examiner(s). Check your reports to see if corrections need to go to the Internal/External or both Examiners. The 6 month deadline begins from the date of the Board of Graduate Studies meeting. Count on six months from the date of the meeting to work out the due date for corrections.

Do I need to go through another Board of Graduate Studies meeting?

Once you have received a conditional approval subject to corrections from the Board of Graduate Studies you do not need to be considered at a further Board of Graduate Studies meeting.

Revising and Resubmitting the Thesis

If the Board has confirmed that you need to revise and resubmit your thesis for examination, you must respond to the email sent by the Student Registry to confirm that this is what you wish to do.

The Email will state the deadline for submission of your revised thesis.

You must then begin work on revising your thesis, taking full account of what your Examiners require you to do.

The examination of a revised thesis begins afresh, possibly with new Examiners, and may include an oral or written examination on the revised thesis.

On completion of the revised thesis, candidates will have to submit two copies to the Student Registry along with all the submission paperwork - as if this was a first submission.  See the pages on  Submitting the Dissertation  for further information.

If candidates are unable to meet their new submission date, they must apply to extend it; for more information see  Extending Your 'End of Registration Date '

If you are unable to undertake corrections or revisions by the given deadline, your name may be temporarily removed from the Register of Graduate Students.

When you have completed your work and wish to submit your corrected or revised thesis, you will need to apply to be reinstated to study . The application needs to be forwarded with all accompanying documents to the appropriate Degree Committee for consideration. The Degree Committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Graduate Studies who will communicate its final decision to the candidate and all interested parties.

If you require a visa to return to the UK for reinstatement, or to complete your studies thereafter, please contact the International Student Team as early as possible. You must not return undertake your viva and/or complete corrections on a general visitor visa.

The Department of Politics and International Studies, The Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP

Contact: [email protected]

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